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Political case decision later

Wednesday December 07, 2016 Written by Published in Politics

Decisions on a matter involving the Application of Declaration of Judgement between Kareroa and Others versus the Attorney General has been reserved and will be heard on a later date by the Cook Islands High Court.

 

The matter was presented before Chief Justice Hugh Williams, Justice Christine Grice and Justice Patrick Keane on Monday and Tuesday.

The applicants, mainly opposition MPs, were represented by New Zealand lawyer Isaac Hikaka who is an expert in the law of the Pacific Islands and provides advice on constitutional and commercial issues across a range of South Pacific states.

The defendants are the Clerk of Parliament John Tangi, Speaker of Parliament Nikki Rattle and Queens Representative Tom Marsters who are referred to as “Attorney General” as directed by the court.

They are represented by the Solicitor General, David James.

On September 12 this year, the Opposition coalition members visited the High Court to file an application for declaration of judgment in relation to matters that occurred on June 20 and 21.

Tha matters involve the “unlawful” lockdown of parliament in June 21, and an application of declaration on Tangi, whom they allege should not have prevented them from entering parliament on June 20.

The opposition also raised concerns about the RAPPA seat which is held by Internal Affairs minister Albert Nicholas who joined the Cook Islands Party government after winning the election for the Democratic Party.

The Demos had earlier claimed the RAPPA seat vacant “by order of gazette”.

Hikaka said: “This is Albert Nicholas’ seat and questions have been raised in regard to the nature of democracy and balancing of rights. And the key question raised is, was the seat vacated?”

He addressed the issue of party-hopping, stating that MPs were able to leave a political party without any consequences, but could be breaching their parties’ constitutions.

Hikaka also raised the constitutionality of the “party integrity” provisions of the Electoral Act 2004. He added that the objective of the court matter was the need for government stability and respecting the wishes of the voters and protecting the people.

Justice Williams said the court would do their best with the matter as it was a complicated and sensitive issue.

He said it could take some time to formally review all the submissions and the matter would either be called before Christmas this year or another date to be confirmed later.